teaching to learn, means learning to teach

eye spy bags

During my holidays, I took some time out to make things for my Kindy Kids. One of these projects was a collection of ‘eye-spy bags’. Very simple to make, although if you were more of a perfectionist than me, they would definitely take longer!

Originally I was going to collect all the little toys from around my house to fill them, but then I saw a selection or eraser packs at K-mart and decided to ‘theme’ them 🙂 All up i made six in one night; transport, kitchen, beach, tool kit, aliens and environmental. The pattern was just a rectangle of material – a bit smaller than an A4 sheet, with a hole cut on one half. I then sewed on a sheet of clear, pliable plastic that I got from spotlight ages ago,  folded it in half, ran the sewing machine over 2 sides and poured in between one or two cups of rice, before sewing it closed. Done!

I have a real problem with using food for art. Working in a low socio-economic area does that to me. Knowing that the rice I’ve used here could feed my family for a week, really puts it into perspective. I looked for alternatives on the web, but came up with dried beans – another food. I did try to make it with bean bag beans, knowing that they were such a no-no for choking hazards, but the entire thing was closed, so I thought it might work. However, the foam balls floated to the top and stuck to the plastic. Not at all good for a bag that is meant to give sensory feedback as your eyes search for hidden treasures!


The children were intrigued by them, and they have become a great resource during quiet periods for the no sleepers. But the first time they came out I had to explain to a few of the children that the toys stayed in the bags. That they weren’t meant to be opened, but it was a game of hide’n’seek. Of course, with hindsight being 20/20 and all….I probably shouldn’t have put out a cutting activity on the same day!

I was only gone for 10 minutes, leaving two other staff in charge, but it was an opportunity that was taken to by two curious kids! A small group joined them to see what else would come out of the bags, but they all knew they’d made a mistake in opening it. As I walked back in the room, the flurry of activity in this corner drew my attention. There they were, scooping up the rice with their fingers, trying to get it in piles and back in the bags. Using dustpans and brushes to fix the mess they’d made. Seeing that they’d realised their error and were working towards fixing it as best they could, I was proud to see their reasoning skills and awareness of natural consequences had kicked in. They continued to clean up, I gave them cups to put their rice into, as putting it in the bags was making more mess, we talked about how we could use the bags without breaking them and how to react if they saw one of their friends trying to open one of the others. It seems to have sunk in, because we haven’t had another incident like this, yet…

Most of all, I was so exceptionally grateful that I had not used the bean bag filling foam balls!

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Comments on: "eye spy bags" (2)

  1. Hey, I looked into making and selling these, until I realised it needed me to be pretty quick on the sewing machine…which I am most definately not haha…but when I was searching for things to put in them instead of rice, I found little plastic pellets on Ebay. Might be worth a look into. I went into Spotlight to get some, but they didn’t have any left, so maybe search on Ebay and buy some…Just a hint instead of using food…On another note, (I know its food) but you could also use flour…they would be a totally different experience to look through and find things…more so for the older children because they could work out the shape of the object rather than seeing it and knowing what it is…Just a thought xox

    • Plastic pellets sound like a good idea, it’d be great if they were ex-packaging material too! I had considered beads, but the cost far outweighed what I was willing to spend! I like the idea of flour, but wouldn’t be able to use the material I have unless I used a ziplock bag for it first – which might make it a fun construction project for the kids to make and take home! I’ll definitely keep that in mind! Thanks!

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